Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day reflections...the Rest of the Story

This week's article for the Waverly Newspaper reflects on the Rest of the Story about Mother's day:
I had almost forgotten that this Sunday is Mother’s Day. Truth be told, it is a bittersweet time for me
My mom, Elinor-Ann, and me
– my mom died in 1987 and while I have a wonderful stepmother, I still miss my mom. Because we were both so young I never got to ask her about parenting let alone about what it was like when she was expecting her first child. And so I approached my own job as a mother with a great deal of fear and trembling and prayer.

Too often we associate Mother’s Day with bouquets of flowers and boxed chocolates, but it can be a really challenging time too. Some women, by circumstance or by choice, never have the opportunity to be a mother, others have had to scrap and fight to provide for their children and others have lost children to illness or accidents. Each life has a story and each story is part of the fabric of our community.

Which is why it is interesting to look back in history and explore the origins of Mother’s Day. The first call for a Mother’s Day dates back to 1870 when Julia Ward Howe, author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic, wrote a ‘Call to Action for Women from all Nations’ to gather together to advocate for peace. Her Mother’s Day proclamation speaks to the pain and brokenness that she saw in the aftermath of the Civil War:

Arise then ... women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience…

It wasn’t until 40 years later that Mother’s Day was recognized as a holiday on a national level, by president Woodrow Wilson, thanks to the work of Anna Jarvis, who also called for women to advocate for peace as World War I raged in Europe.

As a daughter, a mother of four, and a citizen of our wonderful country, I too pray for peace. I pray for peace as I watch a city in our own country torn apart by violence, I pray for peace when I read about the struggles of our veterans, men and women who responded to their nations call to serve and protect, I pray for the mothers (and fathers) around the world who teach their sons and daughters about charity, mercy and patience.

This Sunday, as we gather in our homes, in our places at play and in our houses of worship to celebrate our Mothers, let us join our hearts and minds and voices together to pray for peace, for justice, for hope for the households of our community.

Let us pray for families that work hard to be caring and supportive of one another and let us seek ways to help other families gain strength.

Let us pray for families suffering because of abuse, who feel separated from God, who experience constant hardship, or are without homes.

Let us also pray for families that are judged wrongly, for those caught in a system of mistrust and greed, and for families for whom the world is a cold and uncaring place.

Let us give thanks for families who read the scriptures, pray together, worship in the home and seek to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.

Let us ask God to help us remember that justice was not meant for only a few but was intended for all. Open our eyes for the ways we as a community of faith can be a witness to all in our homes, in our communities, and in our world. (adapted from the Prayer for the Christian Home)

This is my Mother’s Day prayer.

Today I give thanks for my step-mom, Bonnie and for my children - who teach me each and every day about what it means to be a mom.  Bless you all this Mother's Day and every day!  May we infuse all that we do with the love that comes from God our mother and father...

my step-mom Bonnie and my dad

So blessed to be my children's mom